Founder Tom Bloxham describes refinancing package as a “watershed moment” for the developer


Source: James Royall

Manchester-based regeneration developer Urban Splash has secured a £135m refinancing deal and entered into a joint venture with property group Pears across 35 Urban Splash properties.

Urban Splash said Pears helped it secure agreement from investors RBS, the Co-operative, HSBC and Blackstone to refinance £135m of its remaining debts.

The firm completed a corporate restructure and sold a portfolio of apartments to social landlord Places for People for £77m last summer, allowing the firm to reduce its £208m debt pile and restart development work

Urban Splash founder and chairman Tom Bloxham described the refinancing as a “watershed moment” for the firm, which was hit hard by the recession.

He added: “Since 2008 our company, like virtually every other in our sector, has been restricted by its debt burden.

“It is sad to see how few other northern property development companies have even survived.

“It has been a tough five years for the industry, but I’m proud that during that time we were able to deliver some great award winning projects.

“We have also been working hard since 2011 to refinance our debt and form new joint venture relationships with strong stable financial partners.

“This deal with Pears will allow Urban Splash to continue to do what we do best – develop and manage ground breaking and award winning regeneration schemes across the UK; something we’ve done for more than 20 years.”

The new joint venture will initially fund the Urban Splash Braun portfolio, which consists of 35 properties including Fort Dunlop in Birmingham; the Matchworks in Liverpool;and the Smithfield Buildings in Manchester.

Bloxham added: “This is part of our Urban Splash strategy to refinance our bank debt and form new long-term joint ventures with strong partners.

“It comes following the JV partnership we established last year with Places for People; one of the UK’s biggest landlords.

“This partnership with Pears, a large private property business with huge experience in the UK property market, is the next stage in our plan. 

“We look forward to working with Jonathan Rose, Group MD of Pears, and his team on this and other projects.”

Jonathan Rose, Group MD of Pears Property added: “We have been delighted to assist Tom and the Urban Splash team in their refinance. We look forward to working together.”